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UHI programme will help artists 'make a career out of their talents'

By Calum MacLeod

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UHI students taking part in a pre-pandemic Circus Artspace professional practice workshop in Inverness.
UHI students taking part in a pre-pandemic Circus Artspace professional practice workshop in Inverness.

Artists from across the Highlands and Islands have until Saturday March 6 to apply for a place on a 10 month graduate development programme, developed by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and artist-run Circus Artspace.

The initiative is open to all visual art graduates based in the Highlands and Islands as well as University of the Highlands and Islands alumni in Moray and Perthshire.

Beginning in March, the Circus Graduates Associates programme will use a blend of online teaching and face-to-face sessions, supported by active creative sector practitioners to teach its first 30 students.

The initiative is supported by XpoNorth, Creative Scotland and the UHI Knowledge Exchange challenge fund. This industry backing has helped to make the programme financially accessible, with those selected to join being asked to pay a one-off fee of £30 to secure and confirm their place.

Circus Artspace co-founder, Kirsten Body said: "We established Circus Artspace as an artist-run initiative in 2019 with graduate support at its core. Through this new programme we want to mentor the next generation of artists based in our region by bridging the gap for recent graduates between their visual art training and a freelance career within the sector.

"We are delighted to continue our relationship with university partnership and hope to broaden the programme's reach thanks to support from our industry partners. Our aim for this first cohort is to build a supportive community of practice in the face of Covid-19 and increased isolation as well as open up new opportunities for recent graduates across the region."

Rachel Fermi, joint programme leader of the BA (Hons) art and contemporary practice at the UHI, added: "This is a forward-thinking partnership with Circus Artspace which will allow us to continue to support our visual art graduates and help them navigate their career pathways during these uncertain times. We wanted to be part of creating a space that enables our graduates to grow their connections both in the Highlands and beyond, collaborate with others and tap into real-life experience to further develop and come out of the current Covid-19 environment with a sustainable future".

Iain Hamilton, head of creative industries of Highlands and Islands Enterprise said: "We are fortunate to have so many talented artists in the region, and this is a fantastic opportunity for them to make sure that they have the skills they need to make a career out of their talents. It is really important to the region as this is where culture and business meet, and so is going to be hugely important in how the Highlands and Islands is going to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic."

To apply or find out more information please visit www.circus.scot/graduate-associates-apply or contact hello@circus.scot.

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